Knowing how to throw a punch properly with added power is important not to only get your opponents respect, but to also maintain balance and positioning to set up your next punch or to move away.
Some fighters are naturally heavy handed, but every fighter can certainly increase punching power by implementing the following training tips and techniques.
1) STRENGTHEN YOUR LEGS
Most of the power in your punches come from your legs. They are the very foundation of your strength and technique, so it’s vital that you strengthen your leg muscles.
Running increases the aerobic endurance in your legs but what you should work on is anaerobic endurance which provides explosive power.
Perform activities such as cycling, squats with a medicine ball, jumps and a lot of plyometric exercises that train the legs.
2) STRENGTHEN YOUR FISTS
In boxing, your hands are everything. Without them, you’re finished. Hand injuries are very common so it’s important that you strengthen your fists.
It’s actually underrated and uncommon to condition your hands in boxing but in martial arts, it’s not.
A great way you can achieve durable fists without damaging them is to get a large tub of rice and constantly dig your hands through them with your fingertips first.
Other excellent methods are punching through water, sandbags or even placing a stack of newspapers against a wall, and constantly but gently punch at the wall a few inches away.
3) IMPROVE YOUR UPPER BODY ROTATION
You can produce extra velocity by rotating your shoulders and torso which in turn will increase your punching power.
This is the technique that many fighters don’t or cannot utilize when they’re tired and will often have to resort to ‘arm punches’. Your entire upper body can create the torque needed to produce a knockout so you should concentrate of exercises that focus on this area.
Swinging a baseball bat or golf club produces the same motion as throwing a punch. You can work on this by holding a medicine ball with both hands at chest level, straighten your arms and rotate your torso continuously from left to right.
Alex Ariza, the Strength & Conditioning coach for Manny Pacquiao usually gets him to swing a baseball bat against a heavy bag constantly which is also effective.
4) PUNCH THROUGH THE TARGET
Many fighters reduce their punching power by just punching at their target instead of through it. The reason might be because they’re afraid of being off balance if they miss, or it’s just a habit they’ve developed.
However, unless you’re fully committed to your punches, your cannot fully utilize all your punching power. Practice punching through heavy bags as opposed to just punching at it, and you’ll notice a big difference. Knowing when to fully commit to a punch and when not to is just as important.
5) PLANT YOUR FEET
Whenever you’re throwing power punches, both your feet should always be on the ground. It’s common for many fighters to have their feet leave the ground when they’re swinging away.
To maximize your power, you need to have both feet firmly planted on the ground as this will not only increase your punching power but it’ll also help you to maintain your balance should you swing and miss.
If you want to learn more about increasing your power and maintaining your balance, then I recommend you to check out the Advanced Boxing Workshop course.
6) BEND YOUR KNEES
Stand up straight with both legs fully extended and throw some hooks. Now bend your knees and repeat those punches again, and you’ll realize just how much difference this makes to your punching power.
You need to make a habit of bending your knees when you’re punching. This is called ‘sitting down on your punches’, which you may have heard often.
Squats will help you with this but if you want to take it one step further, pretend you’re sitting on a chair at a 90 degree angle, and see how long you can balance two small bowls of water on each knee. It gets painful after a while but definitely helps!
7) DON’T OVER EXTEND
Over extending your punches is dangerous is many ways. You often hear trainers telling their fighters not to over extend because it will leave them off balance, open for counter punches and even injured by reaching too far with their arms and pulling a muscle.
It also reduces punching power because if your punches have to travel too far to reach the target, it loses a lot of its velocity. So just be sure to get into proper range before letting your punches go.
8) IMPROVE YOUR SPEED
They said that speed equals power. Unless you’re naturally heavy handed anyway, this theory is true to a certain extent. This is because the punches that you don’t see are the ones that do the most damage, and you can only achieve this by throwing punches that are very fast.
Utilize the different training techniques where you can improve your hand speed such as using resistance bands and plyometric exercises.
9) STAY RELAXED
It’s not effective to exert a lot of energy into your punches. Staying loose and relaxed will allow your punches to flow better which means that the velocity of your punches will be increased.
Tension just adds unnecessary weight to your body. Relaxing your body allows your punching weight to drive freely towards your target as you punch opposed to before. This causes the explosive punching power that is seen in many highlight knockout reels.
10) BE PRECISE
Throwing hard punches with accuracy is tough against a move target. Huge punching power is useless if you cannot hit your target.
Even if you can, being inaccurate will reduce the impact you need to make an impression on your opponent.
The temple and chin are two of the most devastating areas to get hit by a big punch so if you want to produce a knockout, then your punches need to be precise.
You can work on your accuracy and co-ordination by working on double end bags, speed bags and most importantly, by sparring.